Preflop bet-sizing strategy in PLO poker

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As a professional gambler, it’s important to reduce potential downswings to maintain a healthy mental state for optimal decision-making. One way this is achievable is by controlling the pot size preflop.

You’re playing in a $10-20 PLO game and you get {a-Spades}{j-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} on the button with a $2K effective stack and the action has folded around to you. The small blind is a weak player and big blind is a solid regular. What’s the best play? Since PLO is an unsolved game, most people will tell you there’s no correct answer, but let’s analyze our options.

• Folding is probably the worst decision you can make. We have a suited ace, we are in the best position at the table and there’s dead money on the felt. Passing up on optimal situations such as these is definitely a mistake in the long run.

• Limping is one of the more interesting choices because it conceals your hand well. Putting “he didn’t raise preflop from the button” logic into an opponent’s mind can you help you win some big pots, especially with a suited ace.

• Min-raising can be a solid choice if you’re doing it consistently against certain players. It can induce light three-bets from the blinds as well as minimize risk while giving you a chance to win the blinds.

• Raising to $60-$80 is considered the standard play in this position, but calling three-bets with hands like this will end up getting you in a lot of trouble postflop, especially with these stack sizes.

All of these choices could be considered correct, however I believe limping and min-raising are the most effective plays in this scenario. Any play that can mislead your opponent or cause them to three-bet light deserves more consideration than a play that falls into their comfort zone, not to mention both of these plays ensure less risk.

Remember, this line of thinking is only for this type of hand in this scenario. Things change drastically depending on your hand and stack sizes. If I have a hand like {a-Spades}{j-Spades}{9-Clubs}{8-Clubs} in the same situation, I’m more likely to raise to $60 or $80 because my hand plays so well postflop in three-bet pots. If I have {a-Spades}{j-Spades}{9-Clubs}{8-Clubs} with a $5K effective stack, I am more likely to consider limp three-betting or min-raise four-betting.

If you take anything away from this article, let it be that you should pay more attention to your preflop bet-sizing and logic. If you play absolutely perfect preflop, not only does it make postflop play easier, but it makes winning easier, too.